The jolly study day was at the workshop of our friend Andrew Hall and the object was to make one or more owls and in the process cover off making spheres and test out a rather nifty bit of kit for making them.
We began with some 100mm square timber cut into short lengths, these were taken first into the round and then sized carefully to the sphere diameter plus 3mm which allows us to finish down the required size.
The surplus timber provides mounting points to hold the workpiece on the lathe and will be removed at a later point.
Next we moved on to taking away the corners of the material, we used measurements provided with the sphere jig to allow us to mark up and cut 45 degree shoulders on the cylinder. This means we have less material to remove with the jig and should make the process quicker and less stressful on the jig.
The workpiece is then mounted between centres using some extension pieces and the jig was set up to allow the spheres to be cut, in reality if you were doing this then I would think that you would do them in batches as this would be the quickest way to work.
The jig is a very nicely made bit of kit, it seems very robust, everything works as it should and it feels very solid when in use. Once set up (doesnt take long) with the workpiece in place completing the majority of the sphere is the work of minutes and the results are pretty much guaranteed. The jig is made by Paul Howard and if you are looking for one then I would say that this one is going to be pretty hard beat and its definitely on my Xmas list!
Once the initial turning is done the sphere is then remounted using some shop made cups and a modified morse taper arbor, again supplied by the jig maker. For the second pass the sphere is rotated by 90 degrees (hope the maths is correct) to allow the original mounting points to be trimmed off and the sphere completed.
To take the sphere through to being an Owl we then turned a fairly simple shaped cylinder for the body and then used a shop made do-nut chuck to hold the sphere whilst two flats were cut to represent the owls eyes...the plastic teddy bear eyes are then added later. I also opted to texture the flat areas prior to fitting the plastic eyes. The owls in my case were painted gloss black in readiness for some Jo Sonja iridescent paints - that Mr Hanbury has a lot to answer for!
At any rate another very valuable learning experience, thanks as always to Andrew, Janet, Kato and Indy for a great day!